South With the Sun

South With the Sun

Roald Amundsen, His Polar Explorations, and the Quest for Discovery

Book - 2011
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Random House, Inc.
Roald Amundsen, “the last of the Vikings,” left his mark on the Heroic Era as one of the most successful polar explorers ever.

A powerfully built man more than six feet tall, Amundsen’s career of adventure began at the age of fifteen (he was born in Norway in 1872 to a family of merchant sea captains and rich ship owners); twenty-five years later he was the first man to reach both the North and South Poles.

Lynne Cox, adventurer and swimmer, author of Swimming to Antarctica (“gripping” —Sports Illustrated) and Grayson (“wondrous, and unforgettable” —Carl Hiaasen), gives us in South with the Sun a full-scale account of the explorer’s life and expeditions.

We see Amundsen, in 1903-06, the first to travel the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in his small ship Gjøa, a seventy-foot refitted former herring boat powered by sails and a thirteen-horsepower engine, making his way through the entire length of the treacherous ice bound route, between the northern Canadian mainland and Canada’s Arctic islands, from Greenland across Baffin Bay, between the Canadian islands, across the top of Alaska into the Bering Strait. The dangerous journey took three years to complete, as Amundsen, his crew, and six sled dogs waited while the frozen sea around them thawed sufficiently to allow for navigation.
We see him journey toward the North Pole in Fridtjof Nansen’s famous Fram, until word reached his expedition party of Robert Peary’s successful arrival at the North Pole. Amundsen then set out on a secret expedition to the Antarctic, and we follow him through his heroic capture of the South Pole.

Cox makes clear why Amundsen succeeded in his quests where other adventurer-explorers failed, and how his methodical preparation and willingness to take calculated risks revealed both the spirit of the man and the way to complete one triumphant journey after another.

Crucial to Amundsen’s success in reaching the South Pole was his use of carefully selected sled dogs. Amundsen’s canine crew members—he called them “our children”—had been superbly equipped by centuries of natural selection for survival in the Arctic. “The dogs,” he wrote, “are the most important thing for us. The whole outcome of the expedition depends on them.” On December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and four others, 102 days and more than 1,880 miles later, stood at the South Pole, a full month before Robert Scott.

Lynne Cox describes reading about Amundsen as a young girl and how because of his exploits was inspired to follow her dreams. We see how she unwittingly set out in Amundsen’s path, swimming in open waters off Antarctica, then Greenland (always without a wetsuit), first as a challenge to her own abilities and then later as a way to understand Amundsen’s life and the lessons learned from his vision, imagination, and daring.

South with the Sun
—inspiring, wondrous, and true—is a bold adventure story of bold ambitious dreams.

Baker & Taylor
An account of the famed explorer's career offers insight into his successful expeditions as well as his role in inspiring the author's own achievements.

& Taylor

Published in celebration of the centenary of Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole, an account of the famed explorer's career by a record-setting open-water swimmer and author of the best-selling Swimming to Antarctica offers insight into his successes as well as his role in inspiring her own achievements.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307593405
Characteristics: xvii, 291 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm


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bmetcalf64 Jan 22, 2012

I liked the parts about the explorers and to some degree her swims, following in Amundsen's footsteps. She really needed an editor for the last part, which was rambling, and convoluted. I tried to keep an open mind, but closed the book before the last two chapters. I wanted more about the explorers and less Lynne Cox's long explanations on how many people she had to talk to to get permission to go to Antarctica.

Oct 28, 2011

What a disappointment! From the subtitle, I anticipated an Amundsen career biography. Instead, rhe first 83 pages are largely concerned with the author's exploits and recitation of many details about her plans to follow Amundsen's Northwest Passage voyage. Perhaps she will get around to Amundsen later. If so, I will not stay to read it.


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